Vice President for Outreach and Partnerships
Kent Mitchell joined Early Learning Indiana in March of 2014. He partners with other team members on partnership, outreach, and federal grant efforts, including the work of Partnerships for Early Learners, Child Care Answers and our Early Head Start partnership program. With a background in public policy, he has previously worked with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund. Kent graduated from Earlham College and holds a Master’s in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Senior Director of Statewide Child Care Resource and Referral
Mindy Bennett has been working in the field of early childhood for over 19 years. She received a B.S. in Elementary Education and in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in Kindergarten from Ball State University and graduated with her Masters of Education in July 2015.
She has worked for Early Learning Indiana since 1995. During her time at Early Learning Indiana she has been a classroom teacher, office manager, center coordinator and since 1997 she has held multiple positions in the community outreach department, Child Care Answers. She is currently the Director of Programs. Child Care Answers works with child care providers, parents, and communities to improve the quality of child care throughout Central Indiana. Mindy has served on many community boards and committees as an Early Childhood representative in Central Indiana and recently concluded her service on the Board of Directors for Child Care Aware of America.
Director of Statewide Quality & Workforce Development Initiatives
Rena leads Partnerships for Early Learners’ efforts to expand professional opportunities and cultivate statewide quality improvement. She brings with her over 25 years of early education administration experience. After taking child development courses at Ivy Tech and participating in a University B.A. Early Education learning cohort in Wurzburg, Germany, Rena later earned degrees in Early Education and Business Management. She also spent two summers at the Leadership Development Institute program at Wheelock College which she contributes to her passion for supporting early childhood education administrators. She has served the field of early learning as a Pre-K teacher, Child Care Resource & Referral Program Director, Region Manager of multiple corporate centers in Indiana and Michigan and as a Professional Development and Project Manager for the statewide NAEYC affiliated agency in Wisconsin. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling to warm, sunny places.
Director of Statewide Outreach
Kofi Darku believes in our collective ability as Americans to make changes for the benefit of the nation and is convinced that helping our youngest citizens have high quality early childhood experiences is the greatest good we should support. Kofi’s 15 years of experience in education, primarily in early childhood, will further expansion and improvement of high quality early childhood practices in Indiana through ELI’s Partnerships for Early Learners. Kofi also has extensive experience in the Reggio Emilia approach and is active in Reggio professional learning communities (PLCs). Prior to joining ELI, he was Director of Early Care and Education for Metro United Way (Louisville, KY) and held the positions of Community Partnership Coordinator and Research and Information Coordinator for 55,000 Degrees.
Kofi received a Bachelor’s of Art in Fine Art from Wabash College and a Master’s in Public Policy – Education Policy focus, from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Arts and sports are his favorite pastimes. He and his wife Anne have two young daughters.
Director of Statewide Communications & Engagement
Kirsten Eamon-Shine joined Early Learning Indiana in March 2015. Each day, she focuses on telling the story of Partnerships for Early Learners and supporting engagement opportunities for providers, families and the community at large. She spent over a decade in the youth development field at IUPUI, the Marion County Commission on Youth and Peace Learning Center, and has diverse experience as a digital communications manager and strategist with community-focused organizations and businesses. Kirsten holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Indiana University. She spends her free time volunteering locally, enjoying Indianapolis’ cultural and food scenes, and exploring the city with her husband and son, who spends his days at a Day Early Learning center.